Introducing the latest addition to our collection: an artfully-inspired collaboration with Austin’s own Keith Kreeger! Panacea is proud to be the exclusive rental provider of Kreeger’s black and gold Gramercy vases and trays. Kreeger’s work bridges the gap between traditional ceramics and contemporary design. He is focused on the singular idea that “Objects Matter” and his work reflects that simple phrase.
With the excitement of this addition to our growing collection, we spent a little time with Keith to hear about his creative process, design inspiration, and more. Read our Q&A below!
Tell us about your design/creative process.
I’ve been working with clay for many years. I’m super-process driven so the best way for me to come up with designs is by making objects. We use a lot of molds in the studio now and spend a lot of time designing ways for these molds to increase our productivity. But first, each and every idea begins on the wheel. I’ll work out ideas and sketch in real-time as I’m making a piece. My work is functional and at the heart of that’s really the only thing that matters – I want my work to be used. I want these pieces to bring people together at a dinner table, or be the vase filled with flowers that your friend notices when they walk into your home. I am happiest when my work is used. During the design process I think a lot about how people will interact with the piece once it leaves the studio. Which curves will grab the eye….which slope of a plate will people sub-consciously feel while passing a dish across the table to their loved ones. I guess that’s a bit rambling… Short answer: I design by making and I make things to be used.
What project are you most proud of so far? Why?
That’s a tough one to choose. The really fun part about what we’re doing in the studio now is that I get to collaborate with amazing people to make something special. We get to work with incredible chefs in the hospitality world. One of our most recent projects was making 3500 pieces for Alex Stupak at his new restaurant, Empellon, in Midtown-NYC. I’m proud of the custom work we created, but more importantly, I’m proud of the logistics of getting an order that size out the door on time. One the mantras we have in the studio is “be the person who delivers.” It’s easy to say yes to something…it’s difficult to finish things. I take enormous pride in the fact that when we say we’ll get a project finished, we do.
When you entertain at home, what are your go-to foods, drinks, and special touches?
Paella…it takes a bit of prep, but the actual cooking is fairly quick and can be done while everyone is hanging out. It’s a showstopper of a presentation and is the kind of meal that brings people together. I’m a big fan of formal-but-informal and paella always works. As for drinks, plenty of wine (rose is always part of the mix). Special touches….I get to cheat because we’ll use my work to decorate the table. Simple flowers, a mix of vases and random little pieces to bring it all together. Side-note…it’s only seconds at our house…sometimes thirds…we only let the best of what we create out into the world so I’m stuck with the leftovers at home.
What advice to you have for anyone starting out in a creative enterprise?
Don’t wait to do it. My mentor pushed me to start things before I was ready. You’ll figure it out along the way. That said…don’t cut any corners and only present work that is ready to see the real world. You can’t take back a first impression so make sure you’re only putting out your best. Your friends will tell you that everything you make is great. Appreciate them for that, but trust your own critical voice.
Tell us more about Make. Eat. Drink. and the inspiration behind this incredible event.
As I said earlier, having my work used is the most important part of what I do. I don’t want my work living on a shelf being looked at. I think that you should use things you love in your everyday life, not save them for special occasions. Make. Eat. Drink. began as conversation with my friend Ryan McKerley, who is a fellow artist in Austin. We wanted to have an event that showed people that handcrafted work has a place within the food and entertaining world. If you’re going to find incredible ingredients, shop at a farmer’s market and cook for your friends…why wouldn’t you use something beautifully crafted to serve with? The other thing was that we wanted chefs to be inspired by one of a kind pieces for their dishes. This event is an incredible night of collaboration across disciplines. I could probably tie this into your last question and tell you how proud I am of it. Instead, everyone should attend one of our Make. Eat. Drink. dinners and we’ll talk about it person!